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$268 million for bypass on major freight route

Aiming to slash travel times for truckies using the route, the Australian Government has committed $268.8 million for the Muswellbrook bypass on the New England Highway.

Construction is due to start in early 2023 and it should be completed by late 2027.

Between 11,000 and 20,000 vehicles pass through Muswellbrook every day, with about 13 per cent of this traffic being heavy vehicles.

“The Hunter region is home to some of our most valuable commodities. Building the Muswellbrook bypass will ensure these products continue flowing smoothly and safely to our ports,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby.

“The sooner our valuable commodities are loaded onto boats and sent overseas, the sooner we get paid and the stronger we become. That is why we are investing in this critical transport route.”

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway explained what the works will entail. “We will upgrade the currently predominately two-lane road, improving trip times and safety by avoiding numerous intersections, varying speed limits and nearby buildings with minimal setback from the road,” he said.

“The Muswellbrook bypass will lower costs for business and bolster our supply chains by improving travel times for long-haul freight movements thanks to a free-flowing, 100-kilometre-per-hour alternative route.”

Senator for New South Wales Perin Davey says the project is a commitment to get transport and freight around the Hunter more efficiently – together with other works.

“This year’s Budget commits $8 million toward the $10 million critical planning works for the New England Highway duplication between Muswellbrook and Singleton. We’re also delivering $560 million toward the $700 million Singleton Bypass, also on the New England Highway.

“We have committed a total of $48.5 billion for road and rail projects across New South Wales since 2013. This includes 240 road and rail infrastructure projects, with 106 projects already completed.”

The Review of Environmental Factors and concept design was displayed for community comment in November 2021, with the submission report due to be released in the coming months.

NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole added that the Australian Government’s $268.8 million investment in the project brings the total joint investment in the New England Highway to more than $1.1 billion.

“We are getting on with the job of transforming journeys right along the New England Highway, having delivered the $137 million Scone bypass ahead of schedule in 2020, and committing $700 million to build the Singleton bypass, on track for construction in 2023,” Toole said.

Australian Government funding for the bypass is part of the new Energy Security and Regional Development Plan, which will see the Government invest $750 million in the Hunter to transform the region into a next generation export hub.

The NSW Government will contribute a further $67.2 million towards the project in an 80:20 funding split.

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